Hiking on the GR® South of New Caledonia.Hiking on the GR® Sud
©Hiking on the GR® Sud|Terres de Lumière

13 best things to do in Yaté

Found in the Great South of New Caledonia, the vast and biodiverse Yaté region boasts an expansive protected natural park with endemic richness. With its red earth, diverse forests, rivers, lakes, and vibrant hiking trails, Yaté becomes an ideal playground for adventurers and nature enthusiasts. Whether kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, or enjoying freshwater swimming, outdoor activities thrive in this off-the-beaten-track destination. Venture inland, where the welcoming tribes of Yaté invite you to share in their daily lives. Explore this compelling destination through our curated selection of 13 must-do activities in Yaté, providing inspiration for your next unforgettable stay!

Paddling between the trees

of the Drowned Forest

Within the heart of the Blue River Provincial Park, the Forêt Noyée (Drowned Forest) is renowned for its myriad oak-gum trunks, resilient and bleached, emerging from the waters of Yaté Lake. Open for exploration during the day, the most enchanting way to experience this ghostly landscape is by kayak, especially under the moonlight. Embark on a classic kayak journey, allowing you to navigate this natural wonder at your own pace with equipment available for rent within the park. As night falls, follow the shimmering glow of the full moon guided by your knowledgeable escort, creating an extraordinary kayaking experience set to the rhythmic paddling of your vessel!

Enjoy a tribal welcome

and taste a bougna

Indulge in the warm hospitality of the Yaté commune’s tribes as they extend an invitation for a delightful meal or an overnight stay. Don’t miss the chance to reserve a portion of the renowned “bougna,” the emblematic Kanak dish! Immerse yourself in the preparation process guided by a tribal woman, gaining insights into the ingredients, the traditional Kanak “oven” cooking method, and the artful presentation. This intimate experience creates a privileged moment of exchange, allowing you to ask numerous questions about the tribe’s day-to-day life. Additionally, explore other local specialties, including Yaté quail and enticing seafood such as octopus and clams.

Mountain biking the red earth

in the Blue River Park

Hop on a mountain biking exploit as you peruse the vibrant red trails of the Blue River Park! Catering to both families and avid cyclists, these diverse trails wind through a landscape adorned with gum oaks, kaoris, and region-specific plants. At the park, you have the convenience of renting various equipment, including adult or child mountain bikes, trailers, electric bikes, tandems, and more—ensuring there’s something for everyone. The trail map available at the park entrance assists you in navigating trails based on your skill level and preferences. For a comprehensive exploration of the park, consider combining your mountain biking experience with a kayaking adventure.

Admire the cagous

in their natural environment

The cagou, New Caledonia’s iconic bird, finds its largest population in the Rivière Bleue Provincial Park. Facing the threat of extinction, conservation efforts are actively underway to protect the cagou. Each year witnesses a growth in its population within the park, providing visitors with ample opportunities to witness this unique bird. Unlike typical flyers, the cagou does not take to the skies and prefers nesting on the ground. To enhance your bird watching experience, consider booking a guided tour with a specialist who can aid in recognising, listening to, and observing this remarkable species.

Bathing at the Wadiana waterfall

Heading south from the Goro tribe, the road from Yaté to Prony leads you to the entrancing cascade de Wadiana, a picturesque waterfall situated close to the road and overlooking the sea. This 30-metre-high waterfall has sculpted a refreshing watering hole complete with natural slides, making it an inviting spot for a dip during the warmer months. Surrounded by lush vegetation and accompanied by the soothing sounds of flowing water and birdsong, the setting is truly enchanting. Continuing past the cascade, also known as the “Goro Falls,” you’ll encounter the remnants of an iron mine abandoned by the Japanese at the outset of World War II, subsequently closed after the events at Pearl Harbour.

Admiring the Great Lakes

at the foot of the Yaté dam

The Great Lakes region is characterised by the presence of Lake Yaté, the largest lake in New Caledonia. From the heights of its dam, one can enjoy a privileged panorama that showcases the striking interplay of colours between the deep blue of the lake, the vibrant red of the laterite earth, and the lush greenery of the surrounding forests on the horizon. Standing at an impressive 45 metres in height and stretching 641 metres in length, the dam also serves as the starting point for a picturesque hike. For the most memorable photos, it’s advisable to arrive in the afternoon, as the mornings often bring a layer of mist to the area.

Discover the nature reserve

of the Madeleine Falls

Explore the wonders of New Caledonia’s endemic flora within this protected reserve, complemented by the park’s enchanting waterfalls. A botanical trail, spanning nearly 2 kilometres, meanders through the unique landscape of the Caledonian mining scrub, offering valuable insights into the diverse plant species of the Great South. The falls, serving as the highlight of the journey, create a picturesque backdrop for capturing beautiful and lasting memories through souvenir photos.

Hiking trails

of Yaté

There is nothing like a delightful walk to observe the natural beauty of the Great South and savour breathtaking views at your leisure. In Yaté, well-marked trails beckon, unveiling sumptuous panoramas that overlook the Rivière Bleue, Lac de Yaté, and the mining maquis: Parc de la Rivière Bleue, Netcha, Agathis, Plateau du Barrage de Yaté, and more. The GR® NC1 trail stages through the Yaté commune, offering refuges nestled amidst flourishing vegetation or along the tranquil riverside.

Fishing for black bass

The man-made lake in Yaté is a haven for enthusiasts of black bass fishing, also known as largemouth bass, trout perch, or black perch. To foster the regulation of this invasive species and preserve freshwater resources, the South Province has revised the Environment Code, lifting restrictions on fishing for black bass. Consequently, fishing for black bass is now permitted at any time and in any location without requiring a fishing permit. Numerous service providers are available to guide you, offering all the necessary equipment for an authentic New Caledonian fishing experience!

Visit village churches

Touaourou boasts a charming small church, a characteristic feature of New Caledonian villages, accompanied by an adjacent soccer field. This presbytery holds a distinguished place in the South Province’s catalogue of historical structures. Bathed in radiant light, the church’s white and pastel-blue facade, complemented by a red roof, creates a picturesque scene against the mountainous backdrop. In contrast, the Unia tribe’s church is grander and more vibrant, serving as a focal point for religious festivities. Each Sunday morning, a mass is held, providing another avenue to experience the daily life of the tribe!

Paddling along the Forgotten Coast

Set off on an exciting journey along the Côte Oubliée (Forgotten Coast), an untouched wilderness stretching between Yaté and Thio! This sea kayaking expedition promises a four-day escape from the constraints of time, taking you on a Robinson Crusoe-like experience: camping under the stars, snorkelling in pristine waters, and dedicating days to fishing. This supervised adventure will lead you to the farthest reaches of Grande Terre, exploring some of the most remote corners of this amazing landscape!

Relaxing on the beach

at the Gîte Iya

Cradled amidst a coconut grove and embraced by natural seclusion, the beach at Gîte Iya exudes the allure of undiscovered coves found in the Great South and Loyalty Islands. Perfect for a leisurely swim or snorkelling to witness the vibrant marine life, this beach is an idyllic playground for families keen on a Robinson Crusoe-style escapade or couples seeking tranquillity. Picture yourself savouring a cup of coffee on the gîte’s terrace, offering panoramic views of the beach and a coastline adorned with numerous coves framed by towering cliffs.

Sleeping under the stars

Embrace a night under the stars by venturing beyond your comfort zone! Bivouacking in New Caledonia is a popular activity, and within the Blue River Park, it takes the form of forest cabins. Found at the park’s entrance, these “Cabadiennes,” tent-like cabins, provide an opportunity to sleep in close proximity to the nocturnal sounds and ambiance of the forest. This unconventional experience is perfect for the entire family!

Venture to...


A land of adventure located in the extreme south of New Caledonia, Yaté is a destination renowned for its nature reserves, wild coastline and exceptional biodiversity!